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Thursday 19 May 2011

Perrier Nights - The History of Cocktails

At a magnificent Georgian townhouse in Fitzroy Square, we were invited to the launch of Perrier Nights - a series of exclusive mixology events that will take place at undisclosed locations across London throughout the year to celebrate the history of cocktails.

The events are also designed to demonstrate the versatility of Perrier mineral water as mixer in cocktail making. I admit that fizzy water was never my first choice as a mixer, but the experience showed that the combination of carbonated water and spirits can work pretty well together - no more sickly sweet mixers for me after this!

On arrival, we were ushered into the Perrier Lounge where a couple of cocktails were on offer. I started with a glass of "Spiced Apple", a delicious mix of Perrier water, vodka, Cox apple juice, sugar syrup and finely grated ginger. This was both refreshing and tangy, and an excellent start to the proceedings.

Next I had "The Whis-Per",  a simple combination of Scotch Whisky on the rocks served with Perrier water. I like taking my whisky neat, but I had learnt from tastings at the WSET that still mineral water releases oils, enhancing the appreciation of the whisky flavours and aromas. I was surprised by the pleasant effect of carbonated Perrier water on the whisky, and thought they took this classic combination a step further. To accompany our drinks, we were served a range of delicious canapés including goats cheese tart, marinated salmon, seared tuna with wasabi dressing, and beef with horseradish sauce.

We were then introduced to our host "Doctor Perrier" who ushered us through to the next room - a splendid Edwardian drawing room turned into a piano bar! It was 1905, the year when Perrier was given the seal of approval by Edward VII. We got dressed up in Edwardian garb and helped the pianist compose a catchy jingle while sipping another Perrier cocktail.

Our next stop was at a London disco in 1973. The cocktail we tried there was a strange and rather sickly sweet mixture of framboise, crème de menthe, vodka and Perrier water. Despite the feather boas and cheesy music, I was pleased to leave 1973 to our next destination - the modern day!

Courtesy of award-winning mixologist, Laurent Greco, we were ushered into his green hued bar-laboratory and shown today's hottest cocktail trends.

The most interesting cocktail in this room in my opinion was also the simplest - a generous fluff of candy floss was placed in a martini glass and then doused with fizzy Perrier water. The candy floss quickly disappeared in contact with the liquid giving out a sweet but unmistakable flavour. This was a non-alcoholic number but a dash of vodka or gin could work miracles if added.

I thoroughly enjoyed my Perrier Nights experience, and the introduction of Perrier as a cocktail ingredient which I hope to replicate at home. I now just need to source the candy floss! For cocktail inspirations, check out  www.societeperrier.com for some cracking cocktails to try at home or on the town.

I would highly recommend attending the next event – to find out about future Perrier Nights, visit Facebook.com/SocietePerrierLDN or follow @societe_LDN on Twitter.

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